Fikirka Xorta ah – All parties in the escalating conflict in Somalia have regularly committed war crimes and other serious abuses during the past year that have contributed to the country’s humanitarian catastrophe, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch urged the United States, the European Union, and other major international actors to rethink their flawed approaches to the crisis and support efforts to ensure accountability.
The 104-page report, “So Much to Fear: War Crimes and the Devastation of Somalia,” describes how the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the Ethiopian forces that intervened in Somalia to support it and insurgent forces have committed widespread and serious violations of the laws of war. Frequent violations include indiscriminate attacks, killings, rape, use of civilians as human shields, and looting. Since early 2007, the escalating conflict has claimed thousands of civilian lives, displaced more than a million people, and driven out most of the population of Mogadishu, the capital. Increasing attacks on aid workers in the past year have severely limited relief operations and contributed to an emerging humanitarian crisis.